How to Create Effective How-to Videos

How-to is one of the most popular categories of online video, which is why video search engine Blinkx has just partnered with Howdini and Videojug to add more than 50,000 videos to its library.

The added how-to videos cover a variety of skills, from throwing a curve ball to puppy-proofing a home. Using its AdHoc advertising program, Blinkx will pair contextually relevant ads with the videos and share the revenues with its partners.

“We’re delighted to partner with Videojug and Howdini to expand our ever-growing index of premium, professionally produced how-to videos,” says Suranga Chandratillake, the founder and CEO of Blinkx. His site now has over 720 partners.

To help you capture viewer interest with how-to videos, we spoke to Shawn Wulmac, the senior vice president of marketing for Howdini, to get his top five tips.

1. Start with Search Results
Look at what people are searching for when you’re planning your topics. The results might surprise you. Howdini was hired by Sony to create how-to videos for its camera site, for example, and found that people didn’t want tips on buying cameras, but on taking better photographs.

2. Have Credible Advice
There’s a lot of advice on the Internet, but much of it is unsourced user-generated content. If your advice looks credible, you’ll stand out. Brands don’t often think of themselves as subject matter experts, says Wulmac, but viewers see them as a good source of tips and pointers.

3. Get in Front of Your Audience
Rather than borrowing the TV ad model and paying to insert your videos into online programming—making them an interruption that people want to avoid—treat them like premium content. Make sure they’re in the center of the page and that they’re described as content, not advertising.

4. Win on YouTube
“It’s such a gorilla right now,” Wulmac says of the leading video site, that you’ve got to stand out to YouTube viewers. Just inputting tags isn’t enough, he says. Use search engine optimization techniques to climb the rankings.

5. Win on Search
You need your videos to show up on the first page of Google’s search returns. Study up on SEO optimization techniques because getting hits from Google is essential.


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  1. Awesome tips as we are building our own stash of how-to’s. I esp. like #1 and #5.

    Posted by Vamshi Sriperumbudur | September 9, 2010, 4:24 pm
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